Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Does Stress And Depression Cause Weight Loss

Stress Causes Gastrointestinal Distress

Weight Loss When You Have Crippling Depression & Anxiety

Another thing that causes one to lose weight is distress in the gastrointestinal system. Stress affects most of the parts of the GI system. It causes symptoms like :

  • Abdominal pain
  • Feeling of nausea and vomiting
  • Pain while swallowing food

All the symptoms shown above will affect a persons eating habits and may result in them eating less. This would then result in weight loss since it creates a calorie deficit.

Strategies For Managing Anxiety And Stress

There are many ways to manage anxiety and stress. One of the best ways is to make an effort to get more healthy sleep. Sleep deprivation will make it easier for your anxieties to control you and cause weight gain instead of weight loss. A lack of sleep will not only lead you to overeating, but it will also increase your chances for depression and other health problems that can affect your weight.

To combat these issues, try taking up a hobby. Hobbies are not just valuable in reducing boredom and providing entertainmentthey can also help reduce anxiety levels by occupying your mind with something else.

Another way, which may be the most important thing you can do, is learning how to deal with your feelings without turning to food when you are feeling anxious or stressed out. When you feel like any type of negative emotion is coming on, try using deep breathing exercises or meditation techniques to help yourself relax. Learning these skills can take time and practice but they will provide long-term benefits as they help you better cope with stress.

How To Tell If Your Stress Is Causing Weight Loss

When I was 22 years old, my father lost his battle with cancer. I had just graduated college and had no plan for my immediate future, other than paying my rent and hanging out with friends.

After he died, I was spiraling. The stress of my grief and lack of a plan for my life took a major toll on my health. Even though I thought I was eating regularly a slice of pizza here, a bowl of Easy Mac there it turned out that I was barely consuming any food. I was so completely overwhelmed that I dropped weight in a matter of weeks.

People deal with stress in a multitude of ways . Its important to monitor your response to anxiety, grief or any other negative emotion in order to keep your health in check, according to experts.

Below are a few stress-related behaviors and effects that could lead to unhealthy weight loss:

Read Also: How Do You Know If Your Depression Is Getting Worse

Increased Levels Of Epinephrine

Also known as adrenaline, it is a hormone that is released by the adrenal glands in the body. Whenever you are stressed, in danger or experience strong emotions such as anger, this hormone is released in large amounts, thus triggering your fight or flight response .aspx” rel=”nofollow”> 14).

A surge of adrenaline in the body leads to an increase in heart rate, expanding the air passages of the lungs, enlarged pupils, redistributing blood to the muscles, and high blood pressure, all factors that affect your bodys metabolism by making it move faster. A faster metabolism means that you are burning calories faster than you normally would and this can lead to weight loss.

Why Can Anxiety Cause Weight Loss

Can Depression Cause Weight Loss And Fatigue

Medical Advisory

Talk to your doctor about all new, changing, persistent, and returning symptoms as some medical conditions and medications can cause anxiety-like symptoms.

Click the link for Additional Medical Advisory Information.

When this symptom is attributed to anxiety, weight loss can occur for the following reasons:

Recommended Reading: How To Talk About Your Depression

Can Stress Cause Weight Loss Even When Eating: Physiological Mechanisms Behind Stress

Have you noticed that you have been losing weight without trying and cannot explain the reason behind this? People claim that if you overtax yourself, either thorough work or due to personal matters you may find yourself shedding a couple of pounds without putting in any effort. But is this true? Can stress cause weight loss even when eating all the right foods?

While many people would give almost anything to shed a couple of extra pounds, weight loss is not the goal for everyone. Some people hope to maintain their current weight while others may be struggling to add some extra kilograms. To these people unexplained weight loss is not something they desire.

If you are in either of these two groups and are wondering why am I losing weight?, read on to find out can stress cause weight loss even when eating, causes of unexplained weight loss, and risks of extreme weight loss and much more.

When To Reach Out

It may be time to consider professional support when various strategies dont have an impact on depression symptoms or weight loss.

Getting treatment for depression can lead to improvements in all of your symptoms, including physical ones like fatigue, decreased appetite, and weight gain or loss.

Helpful treatments generally include therapy or a combination of therapy and medication, but a trained mental health professional can help you find the approach thats right for you.

When your depression medication seems a likely culprit for changes in appetite and weight, talk to your doctor or psychiatrist about making changes. It may take some trial and error to find a treatment that improves symptoms without causing unwanted side effects, but your well-being is worth the time and effort.

A nutritionist or dietitian can also help you develop an eating plan that meets your unique needs.

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How Anxiety Causes Weight Loss

If you’ve experienced unintentional weight loss or unexplained weight loss, anxiety and anxiety symptoms could potentially be a contributing factor in your overall body weight. There are several ways that stress and anxiety can cause weight loss, including:

  • Fight or Flight
  • Any kind of severe stress triggers a response we call “fight or flight.” In this stress response, your body prepares to fight off a real or perceived threat. That’s why your muscles tense and your heart races. Your body also recognizes it will need more fuel to combat this threat, so your metabolism increases. This flight response may cause you to burn calories that you didnt notice you were burning.

    Under normal circumstances, your body will return to normal once the threat has passed. But if you have severe anxiety, your body continues to prepare for fight or flight even when you’re no longer in danger. As a result of the increase to your metabolism, your body may begin to take needed fuel from your body’s fat stores, leading to weight loss.

    2. Lack of Sleep

    A common symptom of anxiety is insomnia. Anxiety sufferers often find themselves tossing and turning for hours. Besieged by intrusive thoughts, you may have trouble falling asleep. If you do fall asleep, you may find yourself waking up frequently throughout the night.

    3. GI Issues

    4. Forgetting to Eat

    5. Nervous Movement

    Anxiety And Weight Loss

    Can stress or anxiety cause weight loss?

    While most people are more concerned when they gain weight, weight loss is just as much of a problem. According to the American Psychological Association, 30 percent of Americans skip meals because of stress, and of those, 41 percent say it’s a habit. And when you don’t have extra weight to lose, losing it can be concerning. Even if you do want to lose weight, skipping meals isn’t healthy. Not only is it ineffective, but it can also cause additional health problems. However, there are plenty of weight loss interventions you can take advantage of to stop weight loss due to stress.

    While most people are more concerned about gaining weight, weight loss is just as much of a problem. According to the American Psychological Association, 30 percent of Americans skip meals because of stress, and of those, 41 percent say it’s a habit. And when you don’t have extra weight to lose, losing it can be concerning. Even if you do want to lose weight, skipping meals isn’t healthy. Not only is it ineffective, it can cause additional health problems. But don’t worry, there is plenty you can do to stop weight loss due to stress.

    People sometimes ask the following questions about this topic:

    Can stress and anxiety make you lose weight?

    Why does anxiety make you lose weight?

    How much weight can you lose with anxiety?

    Can stress cause rapid weight loss?

    Why am I losing weight but eating more?

    When should you worry about weight loss?

    Why am I losing weight without trying?

    Recommended Reading: How Do You Deal With Depression On Your Own

    How Does Grief Affect Weight Gain Or Loss Studies Show That Appetites Are Often Diminished Which Can Lead To Serious Weight Loss

    • A common effect of grief on ones physical health is a loss of appetite and, in turn, significant weight loss.
    • This change in appetite often comes with other changes in normal functioning grieving individuals also typically experience an inability to focus, as well as a lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities.
    • With time, their normal functioning is restored: their appetite returns, they are able to concentrate at school or work again, and they again enjoy once beloved activities.
    • While this loss of appetite and weight might be characteristic of some grieving processes, its important you do what you can to continue to take care of yourself.
    • Do what you can to keep your body nourished: you could even get help from some friends who will gladly accompany you to dinner! Whatever you do, listen to your body and give it what it needs.

    If youve ever suffered from a major lossthat of a loved one or even the loss that comes with a breakup or job changeyou mightve experienced a change in appetite: in most cases, a loss of it. When my boyfriend of a few years broke up with me, I didnt eat. For weeks. I stuffed a few pieces of food down each day to keep from feeling completely and totally empty, but my appetite was seriously diminished, and I lost a substantial amount of weight because of it.

    Weight Loss Anxiety Symptom Descriptions:

    • You experience a sudden loss of weight for no apparent reason.
    • Your weight dropped by several or more pounds in a short amount of time.
    • For no apparent reason, youve lost several or more pounds.
    • Due to your struggle with anxiety, youve lost a lot of weight.
    • Youve lost 10 or more pounds due to being anxious.

    Weight loss could have happened rapidly over a few days, weeks, or a few months, or could have happened over the period you have been struggling with anxiety disorder.

    You have experienced weight loss of a few pounds, several, or tens of pounds.

    All of the above combinations and variations are common.

    To see if anxiety might be playing a role in your anxiety symptoms, rate your level of anxiety using our free one-minute instant results Anxiety Test, Anxiety Disorder Test, or Hyperstimulation Test.

    The higher the rating, the more likely it could be contributing to your anxiety symptoms, including weight loss and sudden weight loss symptoms.

    Don’t Miss: Why Does Sleep Deprivation Cause Depression

    How To Prevent Future Health Issues

    Although decreasing your stress levels may feel impossible some days, you can still manage the effects of elevated cortisol. To begin with, practicing relaxation through mindfulness, meditation, yoga or deep breathing can help bring the production of this hormone back down to normal levels.

    Youll also prevent the excess storage of empty calories by ensuring that you consume a diet high in quality foods. Even though your body may be craving a quick fix, aim to eat mostly whole, plant-based foods. Of course, making the decision to eat right isnt always easy, but its worth it. By monitoring your diet, the calories you consume will be turned into energy, not converted into fat and stored by the body.

    Finally, exercise is an excellent way to manage your stress hormones too. Whether you go out for a run, take a daily walk with your family or hit the gym, exercising will help maintain your lean body mass. This is especially important during prolonged periods of high cortisol levels.

    Relationship Of Eds/stress To Adherence Behaviors

    Obesity And Depression  What Does Science Tell Us?

    We defined completers as participants who attended 9 of 16 core sessions . As previously reported, completers lost more , and a greater percentage of, weight . A higher percentage of participants who lost 5% weight were completers . Given these benefits of program completion, it is noteworthy that participants with EDS were less likely to be completers . Of all participants, 40.1 % of those with EDS were completers vs. 61.5% of those without EDS . Individuals with EDS attended fewer education sessions . However, at yr-1, EDS modified the relationship between completion and weight loss . Thus, for those without EDS, 57.5% of completers and 12.5% of non-completers lost 5% of weight , but for those with EDS the difference was not significant .

    Percent of subjects achieving 5% weight loss stratified by CES-D category who were completers vs. not completers, years 1 and 2.

    *** P < .001

    We defined being coached as attending 3 dietitian coaching sessions in yr-1. A greater percentage of those who lost 5% weight were coached vs. not coached . When stratified by depression symptoms, those with EDS were less likely to be coached , and attended fewer coaching sessions than those without EDS . Again, EDS modified the relationship between coaching and weight loss in yr-1 in that the positive link was found only for those without EDS, not for those with EDS .

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    Also Check: How Many Depressed In Us

    Stress Can Cause Anxiety And Depression

    Chronic stress can lead to many psychological disorders, including general anxiety disorder. Both general anxiety disorder and less severe levels of anxiety often lead to weight loss.

    Anxiety isnt the only result of stress stress is also associated with the development of depression. For some people, depression can cause a , which can lead to weight loss.

    Anxiety Medications Can Lead To Weight Loss

    If youre experiencing severe anxiety, your doctor will most likely prescribe drug treatment to help you deal with it. Some of these medications have side effects that can cause weight loss.

    Here are some of the medications and how they cause weight loss:

    • Benzodiazepines. This medicine acts as a central nervous system depressant. Side effects of this medicine include nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach. These side effects can easily lead to weight loss.
    • Venlafaxine and Desvenlafaxine. These two medications are likely to cause you to lose your appetite and therefore cause weight loss.
    • Buspirone. This medicine is known to cause many gastrointestinal buspirone side effects such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and others. These side effects can lead to weight loss.
    • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors. These medications also have gastrointestinal side effects, which can lead to weight loss.

    Here are some examples of anxiety medications that can cause weight loss due to their side effects.

    Read Also: Am I Crazy Or Depressed

    What Is Considered Sudden Weight Loss

    Losing more than 5% of your weight in 6 to 12 months is considered sudden weight loss.

    There are many different causes of weight loss, but anxiety and stress are two that often go hand in hand. There are many reasons why one might experience these feelings: work, school, relationships, etc.

    But can anxiety cause weight loss? The answer is yes, but only if one is not aware of the effect it will have on them. If one is aware of the effect that stress and anxiety will have on them, they can make an effort to come up with a plan to manage their anxieties and lose weight. Fortunately, there are ways to manage anxiety and stress that will help you continue with your weight loss goals.

    When To Seek Help

    Weight Gain From Stress and Depression

    It’s vital that if you experience persistent negative thoughts about your body, you seek the help of a qualified mental health specialist. Trying to control your body with diets and exercise can severely negatively impact your relationship with food and physical activity, both of which should contribute to overall wellbeing beyond a number on the scale.

    It is not clear if a negative body image leads to unhealthy eating or if unhealthy eating leads to a negative body image. What is clear is that feeling an intense dissatisfaction with your body can stand in the way of reaching a healthy weight, and more importantly, damages your mental health and self-esteem.

    Also Check: Anxiety Worry And Depression Workbook

    If Youre Exercising Get Into The Habit Of Eating A Snack Afterward

    Eating post-workout is the only way to restore the energy you burned while working up a sweat. Skipping a snack or small meal may seem harmless, but it can lead to unpleasant side effects like lightheadedness and low blood sugar.

    Burning more calories than youre consuming can also result in unexpected weight loss.

    Reach from something high in protein or healthy carbs, like:

    Stress Can Make You Too Exhausted To Eat

    I know stress and anxiety well enough to have experienced more than my fair share of sleepless nights laying in bed, internally freaking out. Weve all been there at some point.

    Stress is known to cause reduced sleep duration and increased sleep disturbances.

    If youre constantly stressed out or too stressed out, you might reach the point of exhaustion where youre just too tired to eat, which can cause stress-related weight loss.

    Recommended Reading: Is It Possible To Overcome Depression Without Medication

    Stress Can Make You Skip Meals

    When Im super stressed about a deadline or juggling multiple projects at the same time, I tend to go into work overdrive, and sometimes forget about meals. I get hyper-focused on work, and next thing I know, its 4 pm, and I havent eaten.

    If you tend to forget about or skip meals when youre stressed or in work overdrive, by the time youre done working, its likely too late for regularly scheduled meals. This increases your chances of squeezing in a quick, unhealthy meal that makes you feel worse.

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